|Greg Zipadelli (right) with Gene Haas (left) and Kurt Busch|
at the recent SHR announcement
credit: NASCAR via Getty Images/Streeter Lecka
These days, Greg Zipadelli is the competition director for Stewart-Haas Racing, but his biggest brush with NASCAR fame was the 10 years he spent as crew chief, mentor, “brother,” and friend to Tony Stewart in his days with Joe Gibbs Racing. Find out more about this behind-the-scenes NASCAR celebrity in this week’s Fast Facts.
- Greg Zipadelli was born April 21, 1967 in Berlin, Connecticut. Zipadelli began his motorsports career with his family’s Modified team; in 1988, at age 21, he won his first title as a crew chief for Mike McLaughlin on the Whelen Modified Tour. That year, the duo won five times and earned 15 top five finishes. McLaughlin and Zipadelli moved up to NASCAR’s Camping World Series East (now K&N Pro Series East) in 1990, and the pair won five times over the next three seasons, with McLaughlin winning Most Popular Driver during two of those three seasons.
- Zipadelli remained in the East Series when McLaughlin moved to the Nationwide Series in 1994, eventually hooking up with driver Mike Stefanik in 1996. That year, the pair earned nine top 10 finishes, and in 1997, Zipadelli won his second NASCAR title as a crew chief, leading Stefanik to two wins and 14 top five finishes.
- Zipadelli jumped to Roush Fenway Racing’s Cup Series operation in 1998, working with the No. 99 team of Jeff Burton as a chassis specialist. Just one year later, he was back on top of the pit box as a Cup Series crew chief with Joe Gibbs Racing and its rookie driver, IRL champ Tony Stewart. Together, over the next 10 seasons (1999-2008), the duo won the 1999 Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award in the Cup Series, the 2002 and 2005 Cup Series championships and 33 races for JGR.
- When Stewart left JGR to start his own team in 2009, Zipadelli stayed on as crew chief for another rookie, Joey Logano. Zipadelli led the young driver to the 2009 Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award and one win in his rookie season. Zipadelli left JGR at the end of the 2011 season to work as competition director at SHR.
- Zipadelli’s brother, Scott, is also a NASCAR crew chief, working with numerous teams over the years including RAB Racing and Turner Scott Motorsports, where he currently serves as crew chief for Justin Allgaier.
- Learn more about Greg Zipadelli’s current team, Stewart-Haas Racing, at www.stewarthaasracing.com.